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Dr. Suniti Solomon, pioneering Indian HIV/AIDS researcher, passed away

Jul 29, 2015 14:15 IST

The pioneering Indian HIV/AIDS researcher Dr. Suniti Solomon died at her residence in Chennai on 28 July 2015. She died due to cancer and was 76.

She was the first person in India who documented the nation’s first HIV/AIDS case in 1986 and later set up Y R Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education (YRG CARE) – the first voluntary testing and counseling center for the disease.

In 1986, Dr Solomon, then a microbiologist at Madras Medical College, made headlines for discovering HIV/AIDS cases in six blood samples collected from female sex workers lodged at the government home on Kutchery Road in Mylapore in Chennai.

Solomon trained in pathology in the U.K., the U.S. and Australia won a string of awards for her HIV/AIDS work. These were:

• 2012: Lifetime Achievement Award for Service on HIV/AIDS by Dr MGR Medical University, Chennai
• 2009: National Women Bio-scientist Award by Ministry of Science And Technology

She also was a fellow of National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS), New Delhi and had served on several boards. These include National Technical Team on Women and AIDS, Advisory Board of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative-India, and the Microbicide Committee of Indian Council of Medical Research.

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